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Ten Tidbits About Ernest Hemingway

By Kristin Masters. Jul 19, 2014. 9:05 AM.

Topics: Legendary Authors, Nobel Prize Winners

Born on July 21, 1899, Ernest Hemingway distinguished himself as a journalist and fiction writer. A winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, he's considered a legendary author of the twentieth century. Also known as "Papa," Hemingway earned a reputation as a "man's man." He loved hunting, drinking, and women. But there's much more to Hemingway than you might think! 

  1. December 1922 found Hemingway on assignment for the Toronto Daily Star, covering the Lausanne Peace Conference. His first wife, Hadley Richardson, came to visit him. She'd carefully packed up all his manuscripts--and the carbons--to bring along for journalist and editor Lincoln Steffens. Richardson left the valise unattended while she bought a bottle of Evian, and returned to find that it had been stolen. At this point, none of Hemingway's fiction had been published yet, and only two short stories remained: "My Old Man" was out for review with a magazine editor, while "Up in Michigan," declared unpublishable by Gertrude Stein, was buried at the bottom of a drawer. 
  2. Farewell-to-ArmsHemingway's first bestseller, A Farewell to Arms, originally appeared serially in Scribner's Magazine from May to October 1929 and proved quite controversial. The first book edition, published in September 1929, had dashes in place of all vulgar language. A Farewell to Arms would not be published in Italy until 1948 because of the novel's unfavorable depiction of Italy's Fascist regime; however, Fernanda Pivano wrote an illegal translation in 1943. She was arrested as an adult. 
  3. We think of Ernest Hemingway as an adventurer and sportsman. But he actually loved golf even more than hunting. Following the success of A Farewell to Arms, Hemingway purchased a Rolls Royce, which he had outfitted with special compartments for hunting and golf equipment...and, of course, a mini bar. 
  4. Hemingway_PassportDuring World War II, Hemingway desperately wanted to be a spy. His taste for espionage drove him to speak with four separate intelligence agencies: the first three were American, while the last was the forerunner to Russia's KGB. But Hemingway failed to collect any meaningful intelligence. Even J Edgar Hoover, first director of the FBI, was disappointed in Hemingway's lackluster intelligence gathering. By 1944, Hemingway had tired of spying and returned to war correspondence. 
  5. Even war correspondence proved insufficiently exciting for Hemingway. At one point, he removed his non-combatant insignia and posed as a colonel. Hemingway would later claim that he and "his" troops were the first to enter Paris after its liberation. The soldiers reclaimed the Ritz Hotel (one of Hemingway's favorite drinking spots) from the Nazis a day before Allied forces entered the city. As a result of his actions, Hemingway was tried for war crimes under the Geneva Conviction. 
  6. In 1941, the Pulitzer Prize committee unanimously voted for Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls. Only one person dissented: Nicholas Murray Butler, then-President of Columbia University and ex-chairman of the Pulitzer's board. Butler found the book profane and vetoed the committee's choice. No Pulitzer was awarded for fiction that year, though Hemingway would go on to win the prestigious literary award in 1953 for The Old Man and the Sea.
  7. Many of Hemingway's books have movie tie-ins, and Hemingway himself edited the script for Old Man and the Sea. Hemingway even has a cameo in the film, as does his fourth wife, Mary. Despite this involvement, Hemingway was actually quite leery of the film industry because he hated how Hollywood altered his writing. He disliked most film adaptations of his works. One notable exception is The Killers, starring Ava Gardner and Burt Lancaster. 
  8. Ernest_Hemingway_Air_CrashHemingway survived two plane crashes on two consecutive days. As a gift to his wife Mary, the author chartered a sightseeing tour of the Belgian Congo. On the way to Murchison Falls, the plane crashed into a utility pole. Mary suffered two broken ribs, while Hemingway incurred a head injury. The next day, the couple sought medical care in Entebbe, but their plane exploded at take-off. Hemingway suffered a host of serious injuries. The couple arrived in Entebbe to find that Hemingway's death had made front-page news. 
  9. If you'd really like to drink like Hemingway, try a "Papa Doble." The daiquiri drink was supposedly invented by Hemingway himself at the legendary Sloppy Joe's bar in Key West, Florida. Though Hemingway may have invented this permutation of the daiquiri, most food history experts agree that the drink originated as early as 1898 in Oriente, Cuba, thanks to engineer Joseph Cox. 
  10. Hemingway's brother Leicester founded the Republic of New Atlantis in 1964. The man-made island consisted of a steel and bamboo raft anchored to the floor of the Caribbean with a Ford engine block. The Republic was destroyed during a tropical storm two years later. Then in 1973, Leicester founded another micro-nation, this time on a sand bar off the coast of the Bahamas. Hemingway had to convince four officials from the US State Department that his brother was not "a kook." 


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Kristin Masters
Master Content Brain. You think it, she writes it, no good thought remains unposted. Sprinkles pixie dust on Google+, newsletters, blog, facebook, twitter and just about everything else.


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